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Gillian Florence

On belonging

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I have been thinking a lot about belonging in the past few weeks since I saw the replay of the Q&A call on belonging. So, I thought I'd bring up the subject for us to reflect on together. I invite you to share your thoughts on belonging, perhaps in response to any of the following questions:

What does it mean to belong?
What are some of the different 'things' you can belong to?
How do you support yourself or others when there is a perception of not belonging?
What inhibits or encourages a sense of belonging?

I look forward to reading your thoughts!

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Hi Gillian. I love that you are bringing this topic up for further discussion. Although I love so many things about this program, Sean standing up talking about belonging in the session has been the most powerful for me, possibly because I went through something for a long time recently where I felt I didn't belong. The strong reaction I had made me realize that it's something I really want to focus on. I have thought and written about worthiness and unworthiness a lot this past year, as conversations stemmed from a meditation group I was in. I will admit, worthiness and belonging are extremely sensitive areas for me, and although I have a lot I want to learn, I have already learned so much and it is changing my life. Part of the motivation for wanting to teach is so I can hopefully help others learn self-compassion, etc. For me, belonging means that you are accepted as you are. You have got me thinking a little bit about the relationship between unworthiness and belonging. Off the top of my head, I am thinking that you can feel worthy and still not feel like you belong. But I am definitely interested in thinking more about this and would love to hear what you and other people have to say on this topic! Thanks again!

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Wow, Ladies,  You dont know how coincidental this Topic is! 

I had just finished emailing my High School Alma Mater after making a Donation to their school; as I was emailing the Head of the School.

I recall trying to fit in while I was there, which was tough in those days...I have always wanted to go back to Boston & speak at my former High School; as I was thinking about themes, this is what I suggested to the Head of the School: 

From Shy Boy to Very Confident Clinical Social Worker/Management Consultant to a Professional Photographer to Mindfulness Meditation Teacher now at Age 70!!

I was very insecure back in the day for lots of reasons...in becoming a Mindfulness I could relate to any Student who did not feel as though they fit in!

My font wont go back to purple:(

Anyway, back then I found ways to fit in, or belong to smaller groups; now on a Professional level I struggle to be respected as a Mindfulness Teacher; that is why I wish more Students joined us here.

For those not belonging, Gillian, extending Loving Kindness & compassion come to mind...my sense of Belonging for me is my own self-Identity today, i.e. I belong even when I don't feel it, there is a belonging space there too!

It's like, no matter where we are, We Are! Like Sean says, It is what it is!

Lastly, I 'll mention a very popular Book I read in College was...On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers! I heard Sean mention him once! An Awesome Read!

Much more work to catch up on, Ladies! Nite!

Edited by finestcoaching524@gmail.com
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Hi Everyone,

 

Gillian - thanks so much for reaching out. 

  • What does it mean to belong?

For me,  this is really important to understand and I don't know that I have the answer.  I do know how I feel. When I was young, late 60's / early to mid 70's I reflect back on never feeling that I belonged. My mother was white and British and all her family lived in England. My dad was Sikh (not practicing) and was from India (all his family was in India). They moved to Canada just before I was born - I did not belong to the white's and I did not ever see any Indians. So, I over longed to belong - if that makes sense. To attach to communities / groups - but never finding any roots. When I did find it, I often was caught off guard by the 'feeling', and would push it away because the good 'feeling' was unfamiliar for me. 

With that context - I feel the question has a phenomenal layers and dimensions to it. Ultimately, to belong is to share a sense of mutual connection (energetic, interest, commonality, familiarity, shared pain, etc...) and that mutual connection, works to entwine a thread of one's energy with that of another's or of a group's. Those threads of energy then work to weave a blanket of belonging. Each weave fueled by commonality of purpose within a mutually safe environment, where people are accepted for who they are and where they are made to feel safe to embrace and share their own truth. 

When we truly belong, we can meet our 3 intrinsic needs (Daniel Pink) - to bring value, to be valued, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

  • What are some of the different 'things' you can belong to?

A variety of groups (both formal and informal), organizations, cultures, race, teams, sub-cliques within teams, families, people with the same interests, pets, relationships, etc.... In essence we can belong to anything where we feel loved, accepted for all of who we are in totality (the good, the bad, the ugly), encouraged and safe to be one with our truth, 

  • How do you support yourself or others when there is a perception of not belonging?

I support others by including them. Where I have been the exclusionary influence (when I was younger) - I reflect back on it, because it does produce guilt moments - I honor the emotion then practice Ho'oponopono (I am sorry, Please for give me, I love you. Thank you. thank you. Thank You! 

For me - I cancel the thoughts that would allow me to take the moment personally and understand that it is the lenses that the other people are living through and in such they own the energy of the moment. I do not own their emotion, or behavior. I gracefully remove myself from the situation.

  • What inhibits or encourages a sense of belonging?

Social connection, overcoming our own demon's - I find (generally speaking) our ego generates fear of non-acceptance and then acts to prevent the pain. Which actually causes and prolongs the pain of that moment - often for years to come. Leaning into the fear to silence the ego opens doors - life is waiting on the other side of the door of our fears - acceptance is often waiting there to eagerly embrace us, all we have to do is clean the filth of fear away from our lenses and be willing to trust that the universe conspires for us all great ways.

Lastly - I would say self-forgiveness allows us to lean into the fear. Self-forgiveness of our feeling embarrassed, of subscribing to the limits which have been placed upon by the voices and experiences of our past.

thanks for reaching out and including me 🙂 .....and whenever I correct a spelling mistake - I get turned to red (I am not yelling or angry _ assuming the text posts in the red font that it is now...lol) 

Love to all, 

R

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Such beautiful sentiments shared here! Thanks to each of you. I will address these comments individually and then share some of my own thoughts.

Lisa - Ah, the connection between worthiness and belonging. I feel I need to sit with that for a moment...

Can we feel worthy of belonging and still not feel like we belong? Yes, I think we can. We can have a deep conviction that we belong SOMEWHERE and yet we might not know where that somewhere is. I am someone who has roamed a lot in my life, trying to discover where I belong. The yearning and the belief in belonging has been there, but I haven't always known my place. Now, I do think that feelings of unworthiness can be present there too. In one moment we can feel worthy (when tapping into a deeper truth) and in the next we doubt our value or worthiness of belonging to a particular group or the collective at large.

Rick B - I can certainly see how your past experiences of feeling insecure, shy, and trying to fit in would largely impact your work. When we are aware of the weight of certain experiences (i.e. feeling like we don't belong), it comes much more naturally to feel compassion for those that experience the same. I agree with your sentiment that loving kindness and compassion are paramount to extend to those who feel they do not belong. 

Rick S - I am touched by everything you have shared - and welcome to our community! I can feel through your words how you would have struggled to understand where you belong in those early years. And yes - the question is certainly multidimensional! We can belong to so many things - to our bodies, to a certain group, to the human population, to the earth as a whole, etc. I'm also happy to see you brought up Ho'oponopono. I had forgotten about the practice but your note serves as a reminder. 

I also find it very interesting what you say about how our ego can generate fear of not being accepted and then refrain from connecting (creating a feedback loop). I do believe this to be true. It also reminds me of something I heard in a podcast the other day with Bill Plotkin (author of a fantastic book called Nature and the Human Soul). I am paraphrasing, but he said something about how when we don't feel accepted by let's say our partner, family or friends, what often underlies this is a sense of not belonging to the earth community as a whole. He said there still may be some truth that we are not fully accepted by a particular group, but that there are much deeper dimensions to not belonging. So yes, it is very complex! 🙂

*

I've shared some of my thoughts within all of that, but something else (which kind of rides on the sentiments of Bill Plotkin): 

I think that many of us are struggling to feel a sense of belonging because the world has evolved so quickly. Not long ago we really belonged to the land we were raised on, to the community of people around us (including our local shopkeepers, farmers, etc). Now, with an increasingly globalized world, our sense of community is dwindling. It's not all bad though! I have met some incredible people over the past couple of years (all of you here included); these technologies are making it possible to connect with likeminded people from almost any corner of the world. However, I think it does pose some challenges we need to be aware of. I find that I embody the greatest sense of belonging when I am connected to the earth (such as when I am camping or when I am up north and live in greater alignment with the natural cycles of the world). So for me, part of belonging requires coming back to basics - back to the earth.

 

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On 3/25/2021 at 2:38 AM, rsingh1 said:

Hi Everyone,

 

Gillian - thanks so much for reaching out. 

  • What does it mean to belong?

For me,  this is really important to understand and I don't know that I have the answer.  I do know how I feel. When I was young, late 60's / early to mid 70's I reflect back on never feeling that I belonged. My mother was white and British and all her family lived in England. My dad was Sikh (not practicing) and was from India (all his family was in India). They moved to Canada just before I was born - I did not belong to the white's and I did not ever see any Indians. So, I over longed to belong - if that makes sense. To attach to communities / groups - but never finding any roots. When I did find it, I often was caught off guard by the 'feeling', and would push it away because the good 'feeling' was unfamiliar for me. 

With that context - I feel the question has a phenomenal layers and dimensions to it. Ultimately, to belong is to share a sense of mutual connection (energetic, interest, commonality, familiarity, shared pain, etc...) and that mutual connection, works to entwine a thread of one's energy with that of another's or of a group's. Those threads of energy then work to weave a blanket of belonging. Each weave fueled by commonality of purpose within a mutually safe environment, where people are accepted for who they are and where they are made to feel safe to embrace and share their own truth. 

When we truly belong, we can meet our 3 intrinsic needs (Daniel Pink) - to bring value, to be valued, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

  • What are some of the different 'things' you can belong to?

A variety of groups (both formal and informal), organizations, cultures, race, teams, sub-cliques within teams, families, people with the same interests, pets, relationships, etc.... In essence we can belong to anything where we feel loved, accepted for all of who we are in totality (the good, the bad, the ugly), encouraged and safe to be one with our truth, 

  • How do you support yourself or others when there is a perception of not belonging?

I support others by including them. Where I have been the exclusionary influence (when I was younger) - I reflect back on it, because it does produce guilt moments - I honor the emotion then practice Ho'oponopono (I am sorry, Please for give me, I love you. Thank you. thank you. Thank You! 

For me - I cancel the thoughts that would allow me to take the moment personally and understand that it is the lenses that the other people are living through and in such they own the energy of the moment. I do not own their emotion, or behavior. I gracefully remove myself from the situation.

  • What inhibits or encourages a sense of belonging?

Social connection, overcoming our own demon's - I find (generally speaking) our ego generates fear of non-acceptance and then acts to prevent the pain. Which actually causes and prolongs the pain of that moment - often for years to come. Leaning into the fear to silence the ego opens doors - life is waiting on the other side of the door of our fears - acceptance is often waiting there to eagerly embrace us, all we have to do is clean the filth of fear away from our lenses and be willing to trust that the universe conspires for us all great ways.

Lastly - I would say self-forgiveness allows us to lean into the fear. Self-forgiveness of our feeling embarrassed, of subscribing to the limits which have been placed upon by the voices and experiences of our past.

thanks for reaching out and including me 🙂 .....and whenever I correct a spelling mistake - I get turned to red (I am not yelling or angry _ assuming the text posts in the red font that it is now...lol) 

Love to all, 

R

When we truly belong, we can meet our 3 intrinsic needs (Daniel Pink) - to bring value, to be valued, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Love that.

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